Failure is quitting before succeeding, by refusing to learn from the situation or try again. Although failure is often a painful and humiliating learning experience, with our self-esteem and confidence shaken, it seldom is as devastating as it may initially appear.  Such experiences should encourage us to rely on God’s grace, not our resources and ability for it is “Not by might [human effort] or power but by my Spirit, says the Lord” (Zech 4:6). In faith we can state, “I can do everything [that He calls me to do] through Him who gives me strength” (Phil 4:13). No one gets it right all the time so don’t be too hard on yourself.  Just because you failed or sinned doesn’t mean God is finished with you, He is a God of the second chance. If you have fallen, refocus your attention and devotion on God, analyse what went wrong, learn from the mistake and move on.  Failure should strengthen and better prepared us for life – not weakened or cripple us. We live in an imperfect world so sometimes factors are beyond our control. Don’t ignore failure or respond to the other extreme and solely focus on the fault; be tolerant and put your energy into rectifying the situation. Failing is an invitation to a new beginning, an opportunity to try again, wiser and maybe with a different approach.

There is a difference between failing at a task (which is a blip in gaining occupation skills) and sinning by failing to keep a moral standard of God’s (which has lasting consequences). All of life is a learning experience as we tackle new skills and challenges

Don’t settle for failure, try again

in the natural realm. We succeed at some things and fail to some degree in others until we get more proficient. These don’t have lasting consequences – they are growth areas. Thank God, for the forgiveness He promises when we acknowledge we have sinned by failing to live as we should, although following moral failure, there are serious long-term repercussions in relationships with lots of emotional hurts and issues that need addressing (1 Jn 1:9).

Failure can bring dissatisfaction, discouragement, depression and frustration.  Satan wants our eyes off Jesus and onto the problem – we are then walking in defeat not victory, and our lives are ineffective for God. In our own strength and ability, we can’t stand against him and the temptations he uses.  As Christians, we have the Holy Spirit within who is greater than Satan is (1 Jn 4:4). Don’t try and fight on your own but in partnership with God, as the battle for the control of our lives is basically between God and Satan – we are just the battlefield and provided we are yielded to God the battle is not ours but His (2 Chr 20:15). Satan would like to remind us of our past failures to limit our future. Don’t entertain such negative impressions which are true for him, not redeemed believers! From the moment Satan decided to be like God he became a failure (and always will be) – don’t team up with him unless you want to be a failure (Isa 14:12-18; Ezek 28:12-14).

When others fail, are we as tolerant of their humanity as we would like them to be of our mistakes?

When a person has failed, don’t reject them. Come alongside, support them by maybe giving helpful instructions and suggestions how to remedy the situation or overcome next time. The Israelites failed to trust and obey God in the wilderness on at least 10 recorded instances (Num 14:22).  Later, when in the Promised Land they regularly renewed their allegiance to worship God, however they soon slipped back into idolatry. How often do we resolve to follow God with complete heart devotion determined not to slip into sin, then before we know it we have fallen short?

We shouldn’t be afraid of the possibility of failure; in humility ask for God’s help and wisdom in the responsibilities of life.  “When I am weak, then I am strong” – as I cling to Him and co-operate with His plan for my life (2 Cor 12:10). Jesus prayed for Peter, not that he would be spared the test or prevented from failure, rather as a result of it, Peter would allow God to use the testing and defeat to commence

Failure indicates an opportunity to grow

a change into someone more useful in His Kingdom, more able to minister the love and grace he had been shown. Peter declared in boldness and self-confidence to Jesus, “I won’t deny you”, yet within hours he had failed three times (Lk 22:31-34,54-62).  Jesus didn’t reprimand him but instead said, “when you have repented and turned to me again I have an important task for you”. Peter went on to become a mighty apostle and servant of Jesus Christ, doing great things for God in spite of his past failures. Self-assurance made him vulnerable, yet when he relied on the Lord and empowered by the Spirit, he was a powerful capable servant of his heavenly Master.

What the world considers a failure may not be in God’s view if done with faithful obedience, to the best of your ability, while what we consider successful can be a failure if not done God’s way and bearing fruit that will carry over into eternity (1 Sam 15:1-31; 1 Cor 3:10-15; Phil 3:4-9). A failure is an experience that didn’t have the desired outcome yet without the possibility of failure there would be no success; failure sharpens our ability and prepare us for success in the future. Thank God, the blood of Christ cleanses our past; move on in the success and victory in Christ as you await eternity in heaven.

See also: addiction, blame, defeat, excuse, faults, forgiveness, give up, mistake, persevere, second chance, self-acceptance, success, victory, weakness.